As of February 2016, after 416 posts, and over six and a half years of blogging, I'm taking a break.
I've explained why here. There's plenty of past posts to read, though - hope you enjoy them !
Looking for a brilliant present for a young naturalist ? Buy my book ! Available from Amazon UK,
Amazon US and worldwide but buy from a local bookshop if you can.
Archived posts: The following articles are from the month or year requested:

When roe deer antlers "go back"


When my room was being changed with new display cabinets for my bones in the summer, I moved this skull that had been hidden away on a high shelf, back on top of my display cabinet. It is from a roe buck (male) but is different to how you would think it would look. 

Some bone collectors like to have perfect skulls but I like weird or misshapen skulls as much, because they tell a story of the animals life. Here the nose bones have gone, and the antlers are more bent back than all my other roe buck skulls.  When the antlers are in velvet, they are more soft and can bend because it is not getting enough nutrients, but when they are out of velvet the antlers are hard and can't bend. 

The epic battle between Homer and Flanders


For most of the year the red deer stags (males) and hinds and calves (female and kids) live in two separate groups, but in the autumn, the 'rut' begins when red deer stags want to have sex with the females. They split up, go find the females, and get a group of them together, called a harem. The stags then fight with each other for females, and only the biggest and strongest end up with females, so that 80% of each year's calves are fathered by only 20% of the males. (It's a bonkers way to have kids, but it's still better than what salmon have to do.)

For the last few weeks I have been watching my local red deer during the rut, like I did last year. It's difficult to do, because deer are hard to track (I wrote a guide here), and harder to sneak up on. Even so I've seen some great action this autumn !

21 ways how I would create an amazing museum


I have been to a LOT of museums. Some have been massive, and have loads of money, like the Natural History Museum (that's where the first picture is from). Others have been tiny, like the D'Arcy Thompson museum in Dundee. I once even went to a museum that was two rooms in a man's house. All of them have been cool in their own way. I even wrote about two very different museums in London earlier this year, and why I preferred the much smaller one, although both were brilliant.

So if I could make my own museum, and control everything, what would I do ? These are the 21 ways I would make my museum absolutely fantastic for everyone, especially kids.

What's in my rucksack ?


If you want to find animal bones you have to explore where the animals live. But a lot of the time animals choose to live in wild and isolated places well away from humans. If I want to look for roe deer one of the places I go is a cold and windy moor which is over ten miles long and which is well away from main roads. If I want to watch red deer I have to go up into the hills and I can end up miles from the nearest road.

Often it's snowy or wet which makes it more difficult to keep safe.That means that on on my walks, I have to always carry a rucksack with lots of equipment and clothing to keep me safe and to make sure I can bring back any great things I find. Here's what's in my rucksack at the moment !

Exploring the history of old farmhouses


There are dozens of old houses near where I live. I have written before about some of them, like the deserted castle and the ruined mansion. Most of the abandoned houses were used by farmers or shepherds 100 years ago. Nowadays less farms are needed because machinery like tractors, combine harvesters and quad bikes makes it easier to run a bigger farm so not as many farmhouses are needed any more.

All of these old houses are on land owned by Blackford farms, which is owned by Mr Al Tajir, Scotland's richest man. He hardly ever sells houses on his land, even if people want to buy them, so they gradually rot away. I think it's important that someone records and remembers these old houses, because a lot won't be there by the time I grow up. I try and visit every old house I find, and dad sometimes takes photographs to record them. (His photographs are the black and white ones.) Read on to find out what I discovered that was really amazing from 150 years ago !

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